Arsene Wenger Blamed for Arsenal Injuries by Raymond Verheijen

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger watches during a training session at their London Colney training ground, Monday, March 10, 2014. Arsenal will play in a Champions League last sixteen second leg soccer match against Munich in Germany on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Arsene Wenger's training methods have been labelled "prehistoric" by former Wales assistant coach Raymond Verheijen, who says the manager is to blame for Arsenal's injury woes.

As things stand, the Gunners have nine first-team players out of action, with Mesut Ozil the most recent addition to the injury table after picking up a hamstring injury in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Champions League opponents Bayern Munich.

The Mirror's Ed Malyon quotes Verheijen saying:

An injury could be bad luck but that is the exception to the rule. In contact sports occasionally there is an unlucky injury but most injuries are a result of overloading the body...doing the wrong workload at the wrong time or in the wrong sequence. 

Clearly something is going wrong. If you look at the law of the big numbers, something in the last ten years is going wrong. It’s clearly incompetence but it’s unconscious incompetence. 


When Arsene Wenger came to Britain in the mid-90s his training methods were revolutionary. The fact that his training methods were seen as revolutionary say something about him, but more about the training methods in England at the time. He was a forward-thinking coach, but the problem with revolutionary people is that they’re only revolutionary once in their life, so twenty years on they become average. And then they become prehistoric.

Verheijen does go on to praise the stringent transfer policy that Wenger has opted to promote during his time as Arsenal manager, but isn't a fan of the Frenchman's tactics when it comes to the training pitch.

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

In recent years, Jack Wilshere has been one the more unfortunate names when it comes to maintaining fitness at the Emirates Stadium, but he has often had plenty of company in the treatment room.

Verheijen also took to his Twitter account to express his views:

Wilshere missed the entire 2011-12 season thanks to a recurring ankle injury, despite making several attempts at a return to fitness. He has since endured several concerning knocks.

It's an area of a manager's repertoire that may sometimes go unnoticed when examining the credentials of a helmsman, but for Verheijen, it's a critical part of the role.

Of course, Wenger has delegates under his command who are more closely linked with the fitness and maintenance of Arsenal's stars, so it may not be fair to give the Frenchman all the blame regarding the club's injury issues.

Verheijen even goes as far to describe Wenger's methods as akin to that of what Marines would endure:

The problem is with the way they train in general, but especially in pre-season. Over the years I’ve spoken with many Arsenal players and in certain periods of pre-seasons, they are trained as if they are in the Marines, rather than playing in the Premier League.

Perhaps Arsenal have struggled to adapt with the times, and one might even go as far as to link that with the club's trophy drought over the last eight years, injuries simply taking too much of a toll on any chances of a title.

However, at this stage of his career, it's difficult to see Wenger enforcing any radical changes in his approach, especially now that he's the most experienced manager currently reigning in the English top flight.